The real truth about dropout rates for Black boys
By Krystle Crossman
There is a billboard in Prince George’s County, Md. that boasts a big message. It tells all who drive by that the dropout rate in the greater Washington DC area is 57 percent. The billboard is bright orange with Black lettering to make it eye-catching. The statistic should be eye-catching enough but they really have to drive the point home. Dropout rates are astronomical and something needs to be done about it.
A majority of those who drop out are Black boys. Black students have a 38 percent graduation rate in the DC area. In reality, the 57 percent dropout rate is a lie. In the DC area it is actually less than 10 percent for students overall. The rate is 14 percent for Black students. The reason for the skewed rates can be one of many things. Sometimes parents will see these graduation and dropout rates and will pull their children out of the schools and move them to another school for a better education. This can mess with the numbers. The false numbers don’t do much for the students either. It does not give them much confidence that they will be able to succeed.
There is a big difference between graduation rates and dropout rates. The way that they calculate a graduation rate is to take the number of students that are receiving a diploma on graduation day divided by the number of students that were in that grade four years ago.